Take pole A and attach to bracket B

30 May


Not sure whether it’s a sign of encroaching old age, or an unconscious conformation to gender stereotypes or indeed the pregnancy hormones that are busy caterpaulting me from Jekyll to Hyde and back at least 14 times a day. But I’m increasingly finding it difficult to Make Stuff Work.

I’m turning into my secondary school teachers, who knew all there was to know about trigonometry and photosynthesis and oxbow lake formation, but were utterly incapable of switching on the video player. I’ll never forget the ritual frustration that inevitably accompanied their attempts to share with us that 15 year old episode of Horizon that was an essential part of our journey to GCSEs (for yes, this was the heyday of the VHS. My geography teacher would have spontaneously combusted at the very thought of loading up iPlayer).

Today I spent nearly 20 minutes trying to break in to my own garage. When we moved here last year I could access the garage to my heart’s content, which admittedly wasn’t that often. Fast forward 12 months and I am now apparently incapable of turning a key in a lock. Despite feeling the disapproving eyes of the global sisterhood upon me, I had no choice but to summon The Husband from the depths of his home office.

“I can’t get into the garage,” I said.
“Why do you want to go in there anyway?” he replied.
“Because it’s MY garage too and there are things in it that I want,” I said petulantly. “anyway I think the lock must be broken.”

Needless to say three seconds later and with one effortless turn of the key he had the door wide open (note to self: cat burglary not viable career alternative during maternity leave).

Confronted with a wall of boxes, lawnmowers (why do we have 2?), spare floor tiles and large spiders I quickly realised that if the thing I was looking for is in our garage I am unlikely to find it. Ever. So 2.5 minutes later I was back in the lounge trying to remember how to play a DVD.

Because The Husband is a movie fanatic we don’t have anything as uncomplicated as a DVD player. We have a blu-ray player which doesn’t seem to like my vintage DVD copy of Casablanca much (incidentally the first DVD I ever owned). My laptop doesn’t have a CD drive, which leaves the communal Xbox and Wii and a ginormous flatscreen TV (which is apparently already inferior) and the Xbox is the most forgiving of my ancient movie collection. But there’s some jiggery-pokery involving HDMI cables required and the handset batteries are flat and normally I’m-at-work-for-crying-out-loud-and-i-really-don’t-have-time-for-this-sort-of-thing-every-time-i-want-to-watch-a-film (this by the way is Zoe Hyde).

it’s like the telescope all over again. A sudden passion for astronomy soon hit a hurdle while trying to assemble my new telescope, lovingly bought by The Husband to nurture my fledgling enthusiasm for the night sky. “Slide the sleeve end of the cable over the nipple on the end of the worm gear” said the instruction manual.

Later on that evening i looked mournfully up at Orion with a heavy heart and a naked eye, surrounded by millions of bits of telescope, each one a potential End of Worm Gear. I’m quite sure the 9 year old me would have had the whole thing sussed in seconds. I think the telescope makers were mocking me all along though – I’ve just found the accompanying picture in the manual itself. And for some reason, in some browsers, it looks like it’s posted at the wrong angle. How very appropriate.


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